We are all passionate about something. In some instances, our passions take on big issues like gentrification. Other times, that might mean something more local and particular like why the tampon machines in women’s bathrooms on campus are never stocked. Regardless of how big or small an injustice may seem, the Lariat wants to be a vehicle for you to tell your story.
Through the Lariat’s opinion section, we strive to find untold stories, talk about controversial issues and offer suggestions for positive, attainable change. With more than 200 student organizations, more than 100 academic programs, and students representing every state and 86 foreign countries, Baylor is home to a potentially infinite number of communities. The Lariat wants to be representative of the entire student body, but the truth is, there are some students on campus that have concerns we may not even be aware of.
Baylor is made up of a diverse collection of individuals. For many of us, the only common thread we share with the people we walk by on our way to class is that we are all Baylor students. There are members of Greek life, the Baylor Chess Society, Tae Kwon Do Club, the Japanese Student Association and so many other groups and even individuals at Baylor that have a unique story to tell. For some, that story is defined by frustration. For others, it’s characterized by exclusion or even discrimination. Whatever your experience may be, it represents an indispensable element in the fabric of the much larger Baylor community.
This semester, Baylor reported an enrollment of 16,186 students. Our editorial board, which publishes an editorial every weekday, is made up of six staff members. In total, we make up about 0.037 percent of the Baylor student population.
Each week, as an editorial board, we strive to tackle issues that we think Baylor community members are passionate about. Whether related to politics, the university or Waco, our editorials aim to be the voice of The Lariat. In addition, our opinion section publishes at least one daily column written by one of our other staff members. In the past, we have also frequently included Lariat Letters in the opinion section, guest columns and letters written by Baylor students and faculty to address issues they personally have observed and considered. This semester, however, the inbox of Lariat-Letters@baylor.edu has been almost completely empty. Lariat Letters offer an opportunity for students to speak up about their experiences in a formal, respected, public forum-style setting, and we hope you will take advantage of that resource throughout the rest of the semester.
As students, we often complain about small injustices or inconsistencies to our friends, and the conversation ends there – as a conversation between two people. What if, instead, we considered our experiences and observations in a different light – as something fundamentally crucial to be shared as a first step in bringing about positive change? Obviously, Baylor is not perfect. There is always room for improvement. As students, we have so much to gain by sharing our perspective. After all, the policies and goings-on of the university affect us in a deeply personal, intimate way.
Though we hope you will consider turning to The Lariat through emailed letters to the editor, we also hope you won’t stop there in making your voice heard.
Just earlier this semester, students took to social media to express their concerns about a sign posted in the McLane Student Life Center regarding a dress code policy change. One of the new rules required female students to wear shorts longer than one’s fingertips. Students even organized a protest to be held the next morning outside the SLC.
Eventually, Baylor issued a statement on Twitter, saying the SLC would return to the “former interpretation of this policy and will seek additional student input should there be any proposed changes in the future.”
We want Baylor students to be characterized by this kind of tenacity. We want to be known as the students who stand up and say something when we see injustice. More than that, we want to be the students who support one another, listening and valuing the experiences of others to move forward together.
Some of us may only be connected by our identity as a Baylor student, but we can still encourage each other to speak up and work together to promote lasting change in our community.
Our fellow students, we are listening. We want to hear your story, and we know others do, too. Your experiences matter. The editorial board’s opinions aren’t the only ones that belong on this page. In fact, maybe you completely disagree with some of the opinions on this page. If so, we want to hear about it so that our voice can be represented.
This is the Baylor Lariat: It is for the Baylor community, by the Baylor community. Its opinion page should represent that diverse group of people that all call Baylor home. So, write those Lariat Letters or submit a guest column, tweet us (@bulariat) about what’s going on in your neck of the woods and continue to be passionate with a purpose.